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The Ultimate Diabetes Cookbook    by Carol Gelles order for
Ultimate Diabetes Cookbook
by Carol Gelles
Order:  USA  Can
Broadway, 2003 (2003)

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* * *   Reviewed by Shannon Bigham

While I am not personally afflicted with the disease, diabetes is no stranger to me. Several of my family members have Type One diabetes and my father-in-law was recently diagnosed with Type Two diabetes. As a child, I watched relatives take their insulin shots, measure their blood sugar levels and avoid sugary foods. I learned that diabetics must manage their food intake to help control the disease and reduce the risk of complications. Recently, my mother (who has had diabetes since her early twenties) started to have renal complications. Since these cannot be fixed, diet management is more crucial for her than ever before. I am excited to share this cookbook with her because it will give her new meal ideas and minimize confusion about what to eat.

The Ultimate Diabetes Cookbook is for all types of diabetics: Type I, Type II, pregnant women with gestational diabetes, and those with complex diabetes (diabetes with one or more complications). Therefore, the book is specifically designed to assist anyone who has diabetes (with or without additional complications), and as a result, needs to monitor their diet carefully, and eat meals that are healthy, without exacerbating their condition. The introduction refers to the different types of diabetes, how diabetes is treated and what a 'diabetic diet' consists of, e.g. exchange diet, glycemic index, carbohydrate counting. The cookbook is laid out in a typical fashion, with separate sections for appetizers, soups, entrees, side dishes, salads, breakfast/brunch and desserts (yes, there are even desserts for diabetics). Most recipes are relatively easy to prepare, with less than ten ingredients each.

Recipes range from classics like French Toast to intriguing and appetizing fare, such as Grilled Marlin with Strawberry-Pepper Sauce. No longer do diabetics have to eat boring food to properly manage their food intake. Each recipe is annotated with serving size, number of 'exchanges', and labeled accordingly if it is high or low in calories, fat, saturated fat, protein, carbohydrate, fiber, cholesterol, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and sodium. A section explains how the nutritional values in the cookbook's recipes are measured and a table assigns values to the terms 'high calorie', 'low fiber', 'high magnesium', 'low protein', etc., to assist diabetics in identifying recipes that are right for them. It is easy to peruse the various recipes and quickly find those that fit dietary needs.

This cookbook is strictly a book of diabetic recipes, with accompanying information about diabetes and diet management. It is not intended to instruct a diabetic on how to manage his or her disease that is left to one's physician. However, The Ultimate Diabetes Cookbook will allow diabetics to enjoy a variety of delicious meals, tailored to their individual health needs. A treasure-trove of diabetic-friendly, tasty recipes awaits the reader.

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